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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  May 22, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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that we're learning? >> it's just a tender side i hide so cleverly. i've loved it. thank you. >> same here. >> and good luck tonight with your show here. >> thank you. >> and i hope you rock and roll here for years. >> thank you. >> i can't think of a better place. >> thanks. >> oh, you're so sweet. >> lovely to see you. >> you too. >> and it's nice to have you here in vegas. >> it's been such a pleasure. it is. it is. thank you. -- captions by vitac -- breaking news out of job lynn, month mop i'm don lemon, everybody. just a short time ago a powerful tornado leveled a big chunk of the city. almost nothing left standing. some of the first pictures coming in from cnn ireporters and storm chasers. and also this video, and i want to warn you, you're going to see children here, you're going to see people who don't know what's going on, trying to figure out what's happened here, frightened people. it's from rob, roll it.
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>> and then just a short time ago, a storm chaser, his name is steve polly, caught out in the middle of this driving on the interstate. he said he didn't think he was going to make it. he said it was touch and go for a while. these videos he took at a gas station. listen. >> yes, it is. north kansas. that's where we want to get. >> all right. our jacqui jeras, our meteorologist, joins us now. jacqui, some officials in
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missouri reporting that there are at least as many as 24 fatalities from this tornado that touched down, and they are saying there's widespread damage across the city's south side. >> that's right, don. it was just an incredible tornado that touched down just before 6:00 local time there. a multi-vortex tornado touched down in downtown joplin and just stripped a path of destruction through the city. there are many buildings which have been damaged. homes have been flattened. trees have been broken off and stripped from their bark, and unfortunately, we're concerned that that death toll is going to go up and many more injuries in addition to that. this is a large wedge tornado, as wide as half a mile to 3/4 of a mile wide that moved through and you think it's likely that there's an ef3 or
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other tornado which we would call a major tornado, moved through a very large scale area. search and rescue continues to go on at this hour. reports of people trapped in their homes and reports of people trapped in their vehicles as well, so this is going to be ongoing tonight. now that the sun is down, it's going to be hard to find these people. communication is very spotty. power is out through many, many parts of the city here. and there are so many people injured. there's damage to the hospital. they've had to set up a triage center to try and help those walking wounded people and try and help those out in this situation. so just an incredible situation unfolding in joplin, missouri. unfortunately, it's very reminiscent of what just happened a few weeks ago in northern alabama. absolutely, jacqui jeras. to our viewers, here's the reality of it. 24 fatalities reported so far. widespread damage across the city from a tornado touching down. they don't know how many fatalities, how many injuries in all of this. but people there are being called the walking wounded.
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and as jacqui said, evacuating a hospital. they set up a mobile facility. missouri department of transportation is saying i-44 is closed down because of damage. and here's what we're hearing from the governor of missouri. jay nixon. he said, "significant law enforcement assets and the national guard are now being deployed." now being deployed. and so we're trying to get all those people on the ground. when you hear the national guard being deployed, chad myers, our meteorologist who's joining us by phone, you know that this is big trouble. >> well, you just don't have enough people involved locally to make it all happen without bringing in people from around the state or for that matter around the country. you need law enforcement. you need doctors. you need nurses. when you have this much destruction that we know moved through joplin. and when we get bethany scutti, our ireporter, back on the line, don, i want to get a chance,
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because she's been driving around joplin, i want you to ask her, where literally north or south of the city does the damage begin? because she was out of the damage and then drove and walked into it. there are people out there worrying about their loved ones and they literally cannot get a hold of anyone now. he the cell service is overwhelmed. law enforcement overwhelmed. everyone trying to help everyone else. but at some point in time you have to at this point at least for the next few hours, you have to help yourself. you cannot count on anyone being there for the next few hours. help yourself, help your neighbors, get everything battened down, and literally don't move unless they tell you to move. because i don't believe, and jacqui jeras can help me out on this, i don't believe there's any more weather coming through behind it. many times you get a tornado and an hour or two later another big storm comes through to just do even more damage and blow things around that are already broken. so it's one of those things,
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take care of yourself, but now that better, more equipped, larger numbers of help will be coming your way, now is the time to take care of yourself. by tomorrow morning. >> those assets -- jacqui, stay tuned. bethany scutti is live with us now. have you made it to the hospital? >> i'm standing right in front of it right now. >> okay. what are you sewing? >> it is devastated. it is still standing, but it looks like every window is blown out. there's debris everywhere. trees are down. cars are stacked on top of each other right outside the front door. it is a mess. >> are you seeing any patients? >> i did not see patients. they have a triage. they have several triage centers set up. there are some tents set up across.
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i sent some pictures. i'm not sure if you got them. i'm going to make my way back over there. they sent them to some of their hospitals. i did talk to an rn who said that they lost four patients. and there's equipment around. there's a lot of scurrying. they're gathering things and just trying to gather up what they can. >> hey, bethany, wow, listen. do me -- that's a picture of the hospital. is this bethany's picture, or is this from -- no, okay. this is from one of our afills. that's the hospital. bethany, do me a favor. describe to our viewers what that hospital looks like, how big it is, how tall it is, is there a parking structure on the side, and the damage that you're seeing. >> okay. the hospital as i'm standing in front of it has about seven stories in one building and then on its right has another building attached to it that has a couple more stories to it.
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every window looks to be blown out. there's debris hanging out of the windows. the main entrance sign is a mess. the glass is blown out. there are just cars stacked all over the parking lot. there are still cars parked in front as if they are going into the hospital. but they are destroyed. there's still a fountain going -- interesting. as we talked there is lightning going across the sky, which is ominous to see when i'm looking at the destruction of the hospital. >> so bethany, just a little bit of feedback there. so bethany, you said obviously you're friends with some doctors and hospital staff and you're saying that you saw an rn, you spoke to an rn, and that rn said they lost four patients? >> she did. she said that there were four patients that they lost, and there could be more that she
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wasn't aware of. most people wouldn't say anything when i tried to talk to them, but she did mention that they lost four patients. >> okay. hey, bethany, don't go anywhere. our ireporters are on top of it. we appreciate our ireporters at cnn. you can go to or listen, i want to go to the person who shot those pictures. put those pictures back up to me. jamie green with the "wichita eagle." walk us through these pictures, please. >> well, i'm not looking at the pictures right now, so let me get out there. they were taken -- well, let me backtrack and tell you that i work for the "wichita eagle" and i was actually in joplin, shooting a wedding for a friend. and my best friend and her 6-year-old daughter got caught
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on the way back from the wedding. so we were actually -- we were about a quarter of a mile away from st. john's hospital. so some of the pictures that you see are of st. john's hospital, which i understand has been badly damaged. and then we wanted to get out of town pretty quickly. so we actually waited there a couple hours. probably about an hour, i guess. then we weren't sure what to do until we finally were able to leave. then i shot some photos on my way out of town. i think you might see a couple of photos of pickup trucks with what looked like some people in the back. wasn't sure their condition. not really sure. but i saw a couple pickup trucks like that. we saw several cars without, you know, windows driving around and just tons of power lines down. trees snapped. roofs gone and whatnot, just chaos, and -- and i've seen a lot of tornado damage, and this is pretty bad.
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>> when you say people in the back of pickups, were these people who were in the hospital, or were these people on their way to the hospital? >> they were on their way to a hospital and not st. john's. i believe it's freeman hospital. i saw two different pickups trying desperately to meander in and out of traffic, you know, and both of those pickups had what looked to be like two emergency maybe volunteers in the back -- in the bed of the truck, kind of over them, over -- and both of the pickups had two people in the back. >> that's the picture we're looking at right now. my gosh, jaime, that's unbelievable. and you must just stand there wanting to help people and realizing there's not much you can do. >> absolutely. but, you know, i was surprised, we were able to get in and out of traffic fairly quickly. those people in the truck, people were very courteous,
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obviously, and they were able to move out of their way, you know, and the truck kept monking and it looked like it was going to the hospital hopefully to get them some care. >> hey, jaime, don't go anywhere. we'll continue talking about these pictures. but i want to say this is going so fast on twitter. i'm monitoring my twitter feed. somebody sent a message saying if there are any available medical personnel to please head to joplin, missouri to help out. it's going so quickly it went down to my feed. you by want to say here on cnn if there are any medical professionals, that's according to someone here on twiter, and to me it looked like an official tweet, to head to joplin, missouri to help out. also, fema is standing by staying they're standing ready to support missouri after the tornadoes and the severe weather. that e-mail and that's just crossing the wire here into cnn. it is unbelievable. we have jaime green on the phone, who shot those pictures. she was working, shooting a wedding, shooting wedding photographs, and then got caught up in this.
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also, one of the storm chasers, same thing. said it just sort of came up on them. and then we have one of our ireporters who's on the ground at the hospital, bethany scutti, and she's saying the windows are blown out and she can't believe it. our meteorologist jacqui jeras with us as well. also chad myers and much, much more as these new pictures come in and we begin to uncover exactly what happened in joplin, missouri, and it's not good. in , building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible.
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deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. all right. joplin, missouri hit by a devastating tornado tonight. it just tore through the place. a big part of the city damaged. homes are gone. there are reports as many as 24, if not more people who have died from the storm. i want to get to jaime green now who shot these amazing pictures and what may be one of the pictures that defines this whole storm. it is of the hospital, st. john's hospital in joplin, missouri. the windows blown out and the place really in shambles. jaime, when you took that picture, what were you thinking? >> well, i just wanted to document it. it was kind of tough because we were dealing with our own issues, you know, at the time. it's one of the unusual times
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that, you know, i was living the news event, you know what i mean, so i was with my best friend and she had her 6-year-old daughter, and we had just gone to her friend's -- or i'm sorry, her cousin's wedding. so everybody -- you know, all the people -- most all the people we love in the world were out there somewhere, so we were trying to desperately figure out where they were. so pretty scary time. but i wanted to make sure i documented what was right in front of me at that point. >> and this other picture, jaime, unbelievable. when i say -- and jaime works for the "wichita eagle." a photographer. and this one, people desperately trying to get to the hospital on the back of pickup trucks. >> yeah. i actually photographed that on my way out of town, in my car with the windows down. and you know, i shot it and really then just kind of prayed that those people are okay. you know? i don't know. >> and as you're driving down
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the interstate and you're witnessing this, you can see just how powerful those winds are or were because you see this 18-wheeler and there were a number of them on their sides, turned over. >> right. it's amazing. >> yeah. >> so you were six miles away and were you in the middle of this or did you just kind of come up, there's another angle of that picture. this is freeman hospital. this is another hospital, i imagine, jaime, they're trying to get people to. >> right. uh-huh. and that wasn't very far from st. john's. probably -- i mean, i don't know joplin very well. but it seemed like just a couple miles from st. john's hospital. to answer your question, we were actually -- did you ask if we were in the middle of the storm? >> were you in the middle of it or did you come up just after it? >> you know, no, i think we were in the middle of it.
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we must have been sort of on the place that -- the place that we sought refuge was a -- like a medical office building about a quarter mile away from the st. john's hospital and, i mean, we -- we saw power lines snapping and i saw a huge dumpster fly through the air, and i don't know if we were in the middle of it. if we weren't in the middle of it, we were pretty darn close. and we were outside hovering over a 6-year-old child, who did really well. >> and stand by, jamie, because it -- don't go anywhere, because i want you to walk us through. she has a number of pictures. each one as amazing as the next. and you hear the voices screaming and that's because we have people on the phone, and they are standing out in the middle of this chaos and they are trying, i would imagine, to be directed to move people back. so that's what you're hearing in the background. kathy dennis with the american red cross on the ground in
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joplin, missouri now. i would imagine you have seen a lot of disasters, and talk to me about this one. how does this one rank when you look at the damage here? >> i don't think i've quite seen anything like this before in my life. this is pretty devastating. i would say probably 75% of this town is virtually gone. >> and what about when you talk about town, you're talking about buildings and property and what about people? what have you witnessed, kathy? >> we are on main street heading down to the red cross office right now. actually, it's been taking us probably at least two hours to get there. people are just walking everywhere. they just don't know where to go. and we do have a shelter set up. and this street here is just -- i mean, there is just nothing left on this street. and it's one of the main streets here in town. >> as we look at this video from
10:21 pm and we talk to kathy dennis from the american red cross, what do people watching this need to know about the folks in joplin? they're going to need a lot of help, right? >> they're going to need a lot of help. we're behind in ambulance right now and fire trucks actually from springfield, which is about an hour away. and i can see people coming from everywhere. that are just here to help. i've seen helicopters. and as far as what we're going to do, we are setting up a shelter at mssu. and we're just going to try to help everybody as much as we can. >> all right. kathy dennis with the american red cross, stand by. we still have bethany scutti on, our ireporter? >> yes, i'm here. >> bethany, listen, i want to talk to you about the four fatalities. that's according to the rns. and then our jacqui jeras, our meteorologist has some questions for you. but bethany scutti is an ireporter, she lives ten miles away from joplin.
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she rushed to the hospital. luckily her kids and her family goat out safely. but she went to the hospital and said it's just devastating and spoke to an rn friend who said they lost four patients because the hospital was hit and they're having to set up a triage unit. go ahead, bethany. >> yes. that rn said that they had lost four patients, two in icu and two in another part of the hospital. i also spoke to someone that was working in respiratory. she was in the hospital at the time. she said it happened so fast that they had to just get their bearings before they could even move. and then they tried to get patients out in the hall. she was in a stairwell. and she said it was just so loud that it was just a roar. and then they got everybody out as fast as they could. >> jacqui jeras, do you have some questions for bethany? >> yeah. can you tell us how much of the hospital saw that damage? it looks like a lot of damage on top. i mean, are there rooms exposed?
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i've heard of chunks of the building which have been removed from the tornado. what is the building like? is it still stable? >> i would say it is not stable. it is hard to see to the lower floors. the floors that are higher are absolutely devastated. the windows have been blown out. there's debris hanging outside of the windows. part of the roof or the whole top is missing. i mean, i was standing behind the hospital, and cinder blocks, walls, brick walls are just crumbled. >> describe what your drive was like. you're ten miles north of the city. what was your drive like, and what did you encounter as you entered the devastated areas? >> as i was driving in, it was raining for me but there was -- on the north side of town. i drove south to get toward the hospital, and as i got closer into maybe seventh street and downtown joplin, seventh street and main, apart from seeing some debris on the road, the streets started to get very congested.
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they were blocking the roads to let the emergency vehicles through. and when i realized i couldn't get through there, i turned to go down a side street. i tried to go down 20th street, which had a lot of devastation. started seeing trees all over. huge trees laying across the road. laying across houses and parts of the street torn up. there were power lines down. there were people just wandering up and down the street. some of them -- i saw a mother and two children walking down the street. i can imagine that maybe they had lost their home and they were just walking around. but thn i alen i also saw peopl walking around trying to help. i saw people walking around who were trying to help. people walking down the street and trucks on the side of the road. asking if anybody could use help.
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and as i got closer and closer it was just so much destruction. at one point i looked out and there was a house completely engulfed in flames. i could see the smoke from a distance and trying to see where it was coming from and then i could see it was from a house completely engulfed in flames all around it. just complete devastation. >> hey, jacqui and bethany, stand by, please. >> okay. >> it's just -- it's devastating to hear what bethany is reporting from the ground, and i have to say this, because this is an emergency situation, and i said that through social media that i had seen someone tweeting about help there. another one is coming through for nurses or doctors looking to help in joplin, missouri. there's a phone number to call, and they are asking you to call the greater ozarks of the red cross, the greater ozarks of the red cross, and then they're asking for any medical personnel who's in the area to come to the area to help out. of course, they want you to be safe. so listen, that's the information. i want to -- chad myers, after
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this break. i'm also hearing from people saying i want some analysis from chad and jacqui about what's going on and what's causing all of these crazy weather systems, these devastating storms to just come through and do so much damage. we'll be back here in a moment with breaking news here on cnn. the pictures are incredible. the stories are even more incredible of survival and of just living through this tornado that ripped through joplin, missouri. we're back in a moment. lexus holds its value better than any other luxury brand. ♪ intellichoice proclaims that lexus has the best overall value of any brand. ♪ and j.d. power and associates ranks lexus the highest in customer satisfaction. no wonder more people have chosen lexus over any other luxury brand 11 years in a row.
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yes, it is. the north end. 71. that's where we want to get. >> all right. the breaking news here on cnn. you can see it. it is that tornado that slammed into joplin, missouri, taking lives with it. we don't know how many, but we hear there are dozens. there are dozens of reports of -- reports of dozens of fatalities. homes that are completely gone. businesses leveled. and one of the most devastating instances, the hospital. the st. john's hospital in joplin. it is crippled. they're having to evacuate the hospital and set up a mobile triage unit. jaime green with "the wichita eagle" took these pictures of the hospital as she was caught in the middle of this storm.
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and then our i reporter bethany scutti is at the hospital and is reporting on what's going on there. she said it is devastating. they have never seen anything like it. we had a representative from the american red cross join us just a short time ago saying that they were going to need all the help that they can get. and of course there are calls. they are asking any medical professionals in the area if you can make your way safely to the joplin, missouri area to come and help the people out there. they are also asking for -- there are calls for red cross volunteers to come out and help as well. chad myers, before we went to the break, people are asking for analysis, and they want to hear from the authorities here. they want to hear from you. what is going on that is causing all of this? >> well, don, the last time we had an outbreak like this, even the one in alabama the last couple weeks, was 1974. so it has been a very long time
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since we've seen big cities get hit by such big tornadoes. those big tornadoes are out there every year. they are there. there are f-4s. there are ef-5s every year out there. most of the time they just get range planned. places that don't have a lot of towns. we don't report on them. people are still injured and it's one and two. when you get tornadoes like we've seen, the size that we've seen, rolling through metropolises, rolling through cities, where there is video, it becomes a big story. this year we've had a colder than normal air outbreak arrive to the south, bumping into warm air. the warm air is always in the south. now, warm air doesn't necessarily cause more tornadoes. there aren't tornadoes in the tropics. warm air doesn't come from the south. look at all the humidity and the heat. look at down in barbados.
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doesn't happen, small little things and warm air from the north clashes with the warm air that thinks it's already springtime. hey, i'm spring. we should be warm. the cold air comes down with a cold front, with an upper-level system that comes out of the northwest, and it pushes this warm air up. and when warm air rises, you get bubbling. it's the same bubbling that you feel in an aircraft when you're flying across the country. you have rising motion, rising currents. and when you get a cold front to push that rising air higher and higher into the sky, you can get violent tornadoes. and that's ha happened this year. we're not really at a record pace for tornadoes. overall january, february, march weren't really that active. but it has really picked up when this cold air that has tried to push farther to the south a little later in the season than usual. even some planting across the midwest has been delayed because the weather simply just isn't warm enough. it has been a very cool spring in some spots. that cold air clashes with the warm that's already across the south. the south is warm all spring
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long. and when that happens, you get conditions like we had in alabama a couple weeks ago, and you get conditions today that extend all the way from texas. and earlier today you were on the air with it. we had tornadoes in hennepin county, which is basically, minneapolis's, minnesota. and that is, what -- that would be 1,000 to 1,500 miles away from where this tornado was tonight. >> chad myers, stand by. jacqui jeras, stand by. our ireporters and the photographers who were there on the scene and shot these pictures, and we're so grateful that you -- you that sent them here into cnn and that you're joining us. here's what i want to say. the governor of missouri, jay nixon, activated the missouri national guard in response to the tornadoes and the severe weather that moved through the state earlier this evening. there is, there is a statement from senator roy blunt. let me read it in part here. just coming across the wire. roy blunt says our thoughts and prayers go out to the families impacted by this devastating tornado in joplin. while local officials are still assessing the extent of the
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damages, i am deeply saddened by the tragic reports of loss of life and extensive zrix resulting from this storm. my staff and i will continue to monitor the situation closely and urge everyone to use extra precautions in the region. the first of the statements that come out. you can expect much, much more, especially from the federal government. and you can probably -- i would very assuredly say a disaster area and probably a federal disaster will be declared as well here. we're going to have more on the other side of the break. as many as 24, probably more people have died in this devastating tornado that hit joplin, missouri. [ manager ] you know... i've been looking at the numbers, and i think our campus is spending too much money on printing. i'd like to put you in charge of cutting costs. calm down. i know that it is not your job. what i'm saying... excuse me? alright, fine. no, you don't have to do it. ok? [ male announcer ] notre dame knows it's better
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breaking news. i want to tell viewers that a tornado has ripped through joplin, missouri and taken out a big chunk of the town, if not most of it. the pictures are incredible. we're getting reports of 24 people for now who have been killed, and there could be many more. i want to take a look at the pictures now from jaime green. she is with the "wichita eagle." and she shot the pictures of the hospital. that's the hospital right there. one of the pictures that she shot was of a truck, an 18-wheeler on its side, and the reason i say that is because michael ratliff, who is a storm chaser, is on the line with us
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and helped us to rescue a truck driver, so he saw this scene play out where he had to help rescue someone. tell us what happened and how is the person who you helped rescue? >> well, it happened -- you know, the tornado was wrapped when it went through town. it crossed the i-44 interstate, which is a very busy interstate for truckers. when we came on the scene just seconds after the tornado crossed the highway, there was multiple semis, at least seven to ten, that were turned over and on their side. ran up to the truck. it was on its side. the window was halfway busted out. we busted out the window. there was a driver inside. he was bleeding from his head. had a severe laceration on his elbow, at least down to the bone. once we got him and his pets, we were trying to find the nearest hospital. and as you all know, the main hospital for joplin, which is several stories tall-s missing part of those stories. so it was just mass chaos in
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town and trying to navigate through traffic and the debris, and finally got to the hospital. he was actually one of the last people they were accepting. the hospital was full. i mean, they are just overwhelmed. they set up several triage centers throughout the town. it's devastation. it's alabama all over again. >> and michael, stand by because i want to hear more of your story. you said the top of the hospital, gone. big chunk of it. we heard reports of x-rays showing up miles away. and according to one of our ireporters, an rn had told her that four people had died in the hospital. we have a storm chaser on the line. we have people who have taken pictures who were caught in the middle of it. we have an ireporter who's actually at the hospital. and of course we have our wonderful experts here, jacqui jeras and chad myers. and the governor now of missouri has sent out the national guard. they have been deployed. don't go anywhere. ♪ ooh baby, looks like you need a little help there ♪
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breaking news on cnn. joplin, missouri devastated by a very powerful tornado that went through. we don't know how big it was. let's show a new picture that we have from someone who is actually in the middle of this tornado. her name is ashley sandbop. she was in the walmart when it happened, and she took this picture. there you go. if that doesn't describe how powerful this system is and what the people are going through in this area, i don't know what does. let's leave this picture up. and we'll tell you that ashley is okay. we're glad. but we don't know how many people were in that walmart and other businesses, how many people were hurt and how many people have actually been killed from this. and to get more information now is the governor of missouri. jay nixon joins us by phone. a state of emergency. you have deployed the national guard.
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please tell the country what the people of joplin are dealing with. >> well, first of all, it's total devastation with the hospital down, the high school down, other areas. the bottom line is we declared a state of emergency. we've ordered the activation, we have guardsmen, boots on the ground there now. we've also brought in for a search for survivors, and with the number of buildings that are down, we've brought in task force one. this was a group out of columbia, missouri that helped in 9/11 to search for survivors and has worked throughout the world. we want to make sure that if there are folks that are injured but covered that as the night gets dark that we're out there making sure we can get as many survivors as possible. >> okay. so you don't know the number. and as i'm talking to you, governor, i'm going through, i just have a friend who's from that area. his name is steve ellis, and he just e-mailed me, saying my relatives are in joplin, we cannot reach them, please call me, friend, we need your help. and a lot of people are dealing with a very similar situation, governor. we're hearing reports of 24 deaths in joplin. do you have any official count? i know it's going to -- it's
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going to fluctuate. but what are you hearing? >> we don't have an official count, but there will be -- we have confirmation of a number of deaths and the numbers appear to be rising. also dealing with communications, i dispachtd a few hours ago our highway patrol mobile communications vehicle to joplin. so we've got solid communication among first responders down there. the cell phones may not work. other areas may not work. but we're working hard to make sure with the highway patrol, with the local law enforcement, with the national guard, we have communication for the emergency responders down there. we have a shelter set up at missouri southern with the help of our faith-based partners in the red cross and others. the bottom line is that we are responding aggressively, quickly. we wanted to just make sure as the night goes on that we're saving lives between now and dawn. >> governor, by a number of people who have come on our air, they're describing the people there as the walking wounded and just saying they're walking around devastated. and who could believe that this would happen to them? >> a sunday evening. it's a devastating storm. especially hitting a hospital.
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the other hospital has been very, very helpful but we're bringing in medical resources from springfield and other parts of the state. the important thing is that if people are injured that there are places for them. we've got folks there. they can get to that shelter, which can provide help, provide that assistance. the bottom line is that we are actively involved in search and rescue now. we want to make sure we save as many lives as people tonight. if people are injured -- >> governor. >> yes. >> having a little trouble hearing you. but what i want to ask you real quickly here, i have seen reports of calls going out asking for medical professionals in the area and also red cross volunteers. is that so? >> yes. but we have a number of medical folks coming in from springfield and other areas, coming right in there to back it up. the triage system is working. there are a number of injuries. it's going to be a long night and a difficult recovery. >> and you've heard it for yourself from governor jay nixon of missouri. he has deployed the national guard. and it is a state of emergency in missouri tonight.
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>> kind of scared. >> jaime green, it's dark. you see the skies lighting up. was this before or after? did it become -- was it dark when it happened and then it got lighter, or did you take this after the initial pictures? >> i took this way before i shot any of the devastation. this was i believe when the tornado was about to happen. and then my friend was like behind me in another car, and she's from kansas and she says that you should never stay in a car during a tornado. so we didn't really have many options. so we got out of the car shortly after i shot that.
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and we huddled down. it was my friend and i and her 6-year-old daughter. we huddled down over her daughter out in the elements but up against a wall, up against an office building. our only other option would have been to throw a bench through the glass window which we actually thought of, but we didn't. we decided not to. so that was -- again, that video was taken maybe a minute or two before the tornado. >> unbelievable. let's get those pictures back up now that jaime green took because they are just unbelievable. and the one that strikes me, the hospital one. but there's another one with people. this one is going to personify at least in part the storm when you look at this hospital. i mean, obviously, you can see that the windows are blown out. but this is the one that gets me. the people in the back of the pickup truck. meteorologist jacqui jeras, this has to tug at your heart. and you see how desperate people are. help me talk to jaime green on
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the phone about this now. >> yeah, it really does tug at your heart, don. you know, there's been a lot of video online as well. and we've talked with radio reporters as well as tv reporters who have been really overcome in this situation. in fact, i saw one person break down and cry on national television. that's just how devastating the situation is. this is a large part of a very populated area. joplin, missouri. as much as 175,000 people live in the city and the surrounding suburb areas. and this is definitely a life-changing event for the people that live there. a lot of lives have been lost. you know, those numbers are questionable as to how many. we've heard as many as 24 and, unfortunately, those are going to continue to go up. you know, people are trapped in their homes. the hospital has been impacted. and people are having to go to a different hospital. and triages are being set up. so this large-scale search and rescue is taking place. we heard from the governor, you
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know, talking about bringing in the special task force to help find these people. and they're trying to get in additional medical help as well. so just it's hard to put into words. it really is. >> yeah. it's devastating. jacqui, stand by. i just want to tell you just how this just breaks your heart. i have a friend whose grandmother is there. he's been e-mailing me. he said, "my aunt is 82 years old, don. she's very near st. john's hospital. no one to reach anyone. no one has been able to reach anyone. her name is betty schrader at 2904 ohio. if you have an on-the-ground contact, please check on her. i'm very distressed." so stephen was able to send that to me just because he knows me but i imagine that's a lot -- a lot of that is going on among people who live there. >> hey, don -- >> people checking on their neighbors -- yeah, go ahead, jacqui. >> watching twitter, and red cross is tweeting on their website right now that people can help find others and let
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them know that they're okay via the web. so that's one resource. and there are also lists of shelters where people will be able to get some help as well there. >> thanks, jacqui. don't go anywhere. more after the break, everyone. [ male announcer ] every day, thousands of people are switching from tylenol to advil. take action. take advil. save on advil with our special coupon in select newspapers on may 22. save on advil beer and wine, and cupcakes. i was doing the corporate grind, like everyone else. but to be successful, i knew i had to be different. ink, ink, ink, ink, ink... i mean i love that card. it does things differently too. great customer service, going above and beyond to help me out as a small business. it's accepted in twice as many places around the world as american express, and if i ever need to give my employees ink cards, they're free. announcer: make your mark with ink. chase what matters. go to
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all right. breaking news out of missouri. a tornado has gone through and really ripped up the place, and st. john's hospital at the center of this. joining us now is bethany scutti, our ireporter. bethany, sum it up real quickly for us right now, what you're seeing. >> i see st. john's hospital. they are breaking down the triage center. they are taking the patients to other facilities. they are loading up whatever supplies they can to help out and give them to the patients in need. >> mm-hmm. and you're seeing bandages and all that? >> bandages, crutches, wheelchairs, bins of water and juice, trying to get them to the patients that they need. >> and jaime green, who shot these pictures in the video. when you look, can you believe you survived it? >> no. it's pretty hard to believe. feeling pretty lucky right now. and feeling pretty bad for everyone else. i know it's going to be just a tragedy. >> yeah. jacqui, you got -- you've got
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ten seconds for me to talk about this? >> i just wanted to ask bethany real quick if she can give us an idea of what percentage of the town has been affected. i've heard as much as 75%, one woman we had on our air i think from the red cross. can you tell us how much? >> wow. i wish i knew. i have not heard that. i know the south side of joplin is looking really bad. >> i also heard about the gas leak at the hospital -- >> jacqui, we've got to run. we only have a few seconds on the air. i wish we had more. so listen, thank you very much for joining us tonight. make sure you tune in to "morning express" here on cnn starting at 6:00 a.m. eastern. and there's breaking news. other breaking news as well. there's been an arrest you know in that dodgers incident where the man -- the man who was put into a coma, they have arrested a suspect. so again, make sure you stay tuned to "morning express," cnn at 6:00 a.m. i'm don lemon. thank you for watching. thank you for watching. good night. -- captions by vitac -- oss america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars
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